In April Jesse Edwards committed to Syracuse. This was big news in the Netherlands, and created quite the stir amongst the nation’s basketball fans. The IMG Academy big man has proven his skills, has abilities his coaches say, “you can’t teach” and now the 6’11” center is headed to Central New York.
With the NBA Finals underway, and free agency movement less than a month away, basketball has much of the sports landscape’s eyes on it. Syracuse basketball’s resurgence in recent years with multiple trips to the Final Four has also been a highly scrutinized betting proposition, and Vegas usually is pretty accurate in their intel. The legalization of sports betting in the US has also pushed the online experience to the next level. Now sites offer full updates, including those who bet with NoviBet get to experience first-hand the craze. The effect has been intoxicating for many fans and sports media, where oddsmakers populate all parts of mainstream outlets. So a signing like Edwards draws a lot of interest to the SU odds.
With advancing technology and non-linear television, fans (and oddsmakers) can find almost any college basketball, football and hockey game. There’s not nearly the information chasm there once was for high school recruits and lower tier college teams. Sports bettors have a better feel than ever. NBA, NHL and NFL scouts are also swarming universities more than ever, putting young players under the microscope. The pressure has gone to the next level. Edwards is from the Netherlands, but even across seas there was plenty of attention on where he would play college hoops. He ended up at the IMG Academy, and drew the interest of Stanford and Georgia Tech as well. Fans and media had followed him for years before he even made a decision.
So players like Edwards have an audience the moment they make a decision. When Edwards made his announcement he took to his Instagram account and told his fans he felt like he was “home” in at SU and that he liked the coaches and atmosphere. Being comfortable meant a lot to Edwards. On his Instagram post he stated that it was one of the hardest decisions he had to make in his life and that he hoped it was one of the best.
Edwards is the fifth member of the 2019 class for SU hoops, which he chose over Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Providence and Stanford. The other four include Quincy Guerrier, Brycen Goodine, Joe Girard III and John Bol-Ajak.
Edwards was recruited for his offense skills for a big man which has been something SU teams have rarely had recently. As we creep into the summer months some fans are wondering what this class will look like in the winter. Optimism is high, but with young players there’s plenty of unknowns. SU can only hope it’s an easy transition and a long and prosperous relationship that blooms.